Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr was commissioned into service Nov. 16 at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla. Charles David Jr is the first of six Fast Response Cutters (FRC) to be homeported in Key West and the seventh vessel to be delivered through the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class FRC recapitalization project.
The cutter’s namesake, Steward’s Mate 1st Class Charles W. David Jr., was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity for his heroism during the 1943 rescue of survivors from the torpedoed Army transport ship Dorchester.
The night of Feb. 3, 1943, the Comanche was on convoy duty in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Greenland when it was called to the aid of the Dorchester, which had been attacked by an enemy submarine and was rapidly sinking. When survivors were spotted, David and several shipmates volunteered to dive into the frigid North Atlantic and saved nearly 100 soldiers and many of the Dorchester’s crew. When Comanche’s executive officer, Lt. Langford Anderson, feeling the effects of hypothermia and exhaustion, was unable to return to the cutter, David plunged into the water again and helped him aboard. David succumbed to pneumonia three days later, leaving behind a widow and a young son.
Charles David Jr is 154 feet long, has a beam of 25 feet and a maximum sustained speed of more than 28 knots. The cutter is armed with a stabilized 25-millimeter machine-gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns. Charles David Jr will provide support operations in the Seventh Coast Guard District, an area comprised of 1.8 million square nautical miles of ocean ranging from the South Carolina coast to the Caribbean.
For more information: Fast Response Cutter project page